Advice for first attempt at planted tank?

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by turborat, 24 Jan 2010.

  1. turborat

    turborat Newly Registered

    Hi everyone!

    I have a 60cmx30cmx30cm tank that has been running fine with only plastic plants and coloured gravel in the bottom.

    What do I need to set it up as a planted tank, lighting, substrate etc? Can it be converted whilst the fish are in the tank or do you have to leave it to cycle again without fish?

    Sorry for the real beginners question but I have no idea and want to get it right to begin with.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. AdAndrews

    AdAndrews Member

    Kidderminster, Worcs
    no need to cycle again.
    it all depends on budget tbh, and if you want the tank to be a high or low tech one.

    i had a tank similar to yours(bar the plastic plants)

    i used tpn+ and easycarbo, dosing both 2ml daily, i had 15w of light, and was able to grow anubias, ferns, moss, p.helferi, and crypts.
  3. turborat

    turborat Newly Registered

    Thanx for getting back to me.

    I would like low maintenance to start with so really need to know which substrate, any special equipment and also which plants would be best.

  4. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Surrey UK
    Hi turborat
    Substrate is very much a personal choice. You can use virtually whatever you like the look of as long as your plant feeding regime is correct.
    There are substrates out there that will cost you an arm and a leg but do have benefits, as they already have ferts in them. But if you settle on a substrate that hasn't got any ferts, eg: plain gravel or sand, the plants will absorb the ferts through their leaves anyway, so the plants won't die on you.
    I have the expensive stuff in my hi tech, but I have just redone one of my low techs using cat litter :wideyed: as an experiment, found here viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8572.
    This low tech 80cm has low lighting at around 1 wpg, and no CO2 of any sort.
    I am successfully growing
    Crypt. Wendtii brown
    Crypt. Wendtii green
    Crypt. Wendtii Mi Oya
    Crypt. x willisii
    Hygrophila polysperma
    Hygrophila corymboa Compact
    and Amazon Swords.
    These plants are fed once a week, filter cleaned once a month and no water changes.
    Now that is what I call a low cost, low maintenance set up :thumbup:. It is slow growing but that suits me as my hi tech takes up time with weekly water changes and trimming etc.
    You can add to the above plant list just about any Anubias or mosses which will grow quite happily in a low light set up.
    So as for substrate, the choice is yours, and as AdAndrews advises, TPN+ will be the easiest form of ferts for you if you're just starting out :D .
    No special equipment required to grow plants, but for best results, try and be consistent with your feeding regime whether you choose, weekly, twice weekly or daily :D .
    Any other queries, just holler.
  5. aldo_01

    aldo_01 Newly Registered

    I used to have plain sand on the bottom of my tank, i then upgraded to onyx sand (£25 a bag) and to be honest i can't say i've noticed that much of a difference in the plant growth. Although to be fair i don't have the most difficult-to-grow plants at the moment.

  6. turborat

    turborat Newly Registered

    Thanx again for the advice, very much appreciated.

    What sand would I use and do I need to add some gravel on top? How deep should the substrate layer be?

    At what point do you need to use Co2 and why?

    Sorry for more questions..
  7. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Surrey UK
    Hi turborat
    I've read that a lot of people have used Argos playsand with success at about £2.99 a bag :D .
    Just be warned about sand. Looks lovely when it's new, but looks a mess when covered in fish poo! :lol: If you add a dark gravel on top it might not look so bad.
    Once again personal choice. I tend to have my substrate starting at about 1 to 1.5 inches deep at the front sloping up to about 4-5 inches deep at the back. You could have it flat if you wanted, as long as it's deep enough for the roots. Most people slope up towards the back which does look better IMHO.
    Any planted tank will benefit from the addition of CO2. Plants absolutely thrive on the stuff. The determining factor as to whether it's a must have or a nice to have, is the amount of light you throw at the tank (watts per gallon, not duration).
    More light = more demand for CO2 = more demand for nutrients = rapid growth rates = more maintenance.
    Control the light and you control just about everything else, algae included ;).

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